Meet Victoria Allen: The Artist Behind Subtleties
Updated: Oct 4, 2018
Art is not simply a mode of expression for Victoria Allen. It is also an outlet. From the time she wrote her first poem in fifth grade, Victoria has actively sought out ways to tap into her artistry.
As a student at Georgia State University, where she studies Speech Communications and English, Victoria seeks to find ways to communicate exactly what she feels and experiences within her photographs, poems, and mixed-medium works.
Victoria took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss her artistic style, self-care, and the inspiration behind her upcoming solo exhibition, Subtleties, which opens August 4th at TILA Studios.
Who is Victoria Allen as an individual and an artist?
I am a very selfless and caring person. I’m a very emotional person. I wear [my emotions] on my sleeves. I’m very empathetic so certain things can have a very emotional pull on me. As an artist, I’m still learning different art forms. I think as an artist I just want to create in any form possible, whichever ones call to me.
Where are you from?
I’m from Brooklyn. I call Brooklyn home, but my dad lives in Orlando. Home is probably where my family is. Florida and Brooklyn.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as multi-dimensional. That’s why I really like doing mixed media because I love combining my poetry with my photographs as well as other materials to make an end piece. I also like that they can stand alone as well. That’s probably how I’d describe my signature style. That’s what I want to lean towards anyway perfecting.
How would you describe your artwork?
Empowering. I definitely want to empower people. Usually it has a feminine touch to it or feminine themes. That’s usually what I really want it to be.
What kinds of stories do you tell within your work?
Currently, I’m just exploring my story. I’m not really trying to tell other people’s stories because everyone’s story is so different. Currently I’m just kind of exploring what my womanhood looks like and feels like. And it’ll resonate with other people.
Who do you create for?
I always think that’s an interesting question. I create for myself first and foremost. That’s why a lot of times I feel weird about — of course you want to sell your work, but it’s really hard to let go of those original pieces so I’ll just want to keep them. And I do create for others as well. I create for whomever it resonates with more so than anything.
How does being a Black woman inform your work?
I think a lot of it is built on being a Black woman — well really Afro-Latina. It affects my experiences, which I write about. That’s usually what I showcase — Black women. The people I identify with are similar to myself.
What are some of the challenges you face as a young artist?
The biggest challenge is time. It’s really just time. Being in school, working different jobs. It makes the time that I have to create a lot less. I’m usually tired too. When I come home, I’m not always in the mindset to create all the time.
Has creating ever been a source of self-care and/or self-love for you? If yes, how?
Yeah it definitely is. It usually almost always is. As far as self-care, it’s a moment to breathe and not focus on anything but what’s in front of me especially with painting. As far as with writing it’s getting my thoughts out of me like releasing it. I usually feel better after.
What inspired Subtleties? And what is the goal of the show?
I’ve always been fascinated by relationships between women. Originally I was interested in doing a Shaded Spectrum series on sisters that look alike, but still have subtle differences. A lot of the sisters that I shot have those qualities. Some are similar, but whether it’s their personalities that are completely different. I wanted to see what that looks like on camera. But a huge part of it was my sister. We look a lot alike. We’ve always been really close and then we got a little distant. Subtleties is also inspired by my relationship with my mother and how that shapes my relationship with my sister as well.
My self-esteem and who I am. I really wanted to explore and not necessarily with the visual aspect. But definitely with the poetry – how her actions may have influenced how I feel or think about myself.
The goal of Subtleties is for people to look at their relationships with whomever they identify pretty closely with and see how they shape who they are.
How did you decide on the name for the exhibition?
Originally it was because of looks between the sisters. How people think like “Wow. You guys look so much alike,” but there’s always a subtle difference. The subtle differences as well as those subtle feelings that we may have that we may not really talk about or think they’re worth talking about because of how subtle they are.
Has Subtleties provided you with healing in any way, shape or form?
It definitely has. It’s allowed me to understand how other sisters’ dynamics are. Some sisters are extremely close. I’ve realized others are very different. I was able to really analyze my relationship with my sister. I think it really pushed me to be there for her more and provide guidance, which in a way helps me heal. My mom used to always say, “Your sister’s your best friend.” We weren’t necessarily best friends, but we’re still sisters and that’s never gonna change. It did provide some healing with my relationship with my mom. I think if anything, it just let me air some thoughts and some feelings out.
The opening reception for Subtleties will take place on August 4, 2018 from 7-10pm at TILA Studios.